FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-52
Contact: Geoff Ryan
and Margaretville Central School District Sign Agreement For Use of Flood
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner
Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., and Gary Wank, Interim Superintendent of the Margaretville
Central School District (MCS), announced today that they have signed an agreement
that will enable MCS to use and care for 10 parcels of land owned by the City
in the vicinity of the school. These parcels were purchased by DEP after the
flood of January 1996, which caused severe damage to many homes and buildings
in the Margaretville area. Under the federal Flood Buyout Hazard Mitigation
program, local governments may apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) for grants so that they can buy properties prone to such flooding.
At the request of Delaware County, DEP provided the 25% local matching funds
required by the program and FEMA provided a grant for approximately 75% of
the value of affected properties in the County.
DEP has issued MCS a permit for the use of the land located on both sides
of Main Street near the school. MCS will be able to incorporate the use of
one particular parcel adjacent to the school into its renovation and expansion
plans by building a new playground adjacent to the existing one. This will
enable the school to utilize the existing playground site in the building
renovation. MCS will also maintain and care for 9 other parcels, while using
them for educational purposes in conjunction with DEP.
"We are pleased to help MCS realize this school project," said
Commissioner Miele. "And we are doubly pleased that MCS has the interest
and willingness to establish a partnership to share responsibility for the
use and care of this land, which is right on the school's doorstep."
"Rebuilding the playground on this site was critical to our school
building project and will enable us to stay within our project budget,"
said Superintendent Wank. "We appreciate DEP's cooperation, which was
essential, and we look forward to using the lands to enhance the appearance
of this area of the Village and to offer some new educational opportunities
for our students."
The arrangement partly results from the efforts of students and teachers
at MCS who have used the City-owned parcels as an outdoor classroom for land
use planning and municipal problem solving over the last two years. The new
playground, designed by three upperclassmen at the school -- Nate Hendricks,
Sarah Hubbell and Katie Spidle -- will be open to the public under the supervision
of MCS. This arrangement is one example of the City's efforts to establish
land management partnerships in the watershed with conservation-oriented groups
Under the provisions of the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, DEP's
Land Acquisition and Stewardship Program has acquired over 17,000 acres and
holds purchase contracts on more than 16,000 acres in the Catskill and Delaware
watersheds on both sides of the Hudson River. DEP buys properties and conservation
easements at fair market value only from willing sellers throughout the watershed.
A number of management partnerships, similar to this one, have been established
on some of these properties as a way to accommodate a community need where
there is also a joint interest in protecting water quality.